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Change the content of the final to exclude the cumulative portion.

This petition had 184 supporters

To the course coordinator and instructors of MCB 244:
As students of MCB 244: Human Anatomy and Physiology, we want to raise a concern with a change in the course syllabus regarding the inclusion of a cumulative section to the final examination. This section will encompass fifty percent of the exam questions. The announcement that the final exam would incorporate a cumulative section was made after the administration of Exam 2.
The decision to add a cumulative portion to the final exam is a significant change, especially with respect to a class like Human Anatomy and Physiology, which features detailed course material. To provide a perspective of the consequence of such a change, we have examined the implications this may have on students’ studying during or prior to finals week. Exams 1-3 covered roughly 11 chapters, a total of 714 lecture slides. If we allotted two minutes study time per slide, it would take about 23.8 hours to study material for only half of the exam, without committing it to memory. While 23.8 hours is a reasonable amount of study time for fifty percent of such extensive material, it is very difficult to know which particular concepts to focus on among 714 lecture slides. A study guide can streamline studying time at best minimally, as topics that are not present on the study guide can still be tested on the exam. For example, if a student invested a significant amount of time and effort studying but skipped two lecture slides and a test question happened to originate from those slides, he or she would be penalized for missing less than 0.28% of the material covered. We feel this cannot be an effective way to evaluate our integrity and knowledge of the course material. We appreciate the way the MCB 244 exams have been administered so far this semester and think it most beneficial to focus an exam on three to five chapters at a time, as this allows the material to be integrated and understood at an optimum level. As the goal of most students in this class is to acquire a knowledge of human anatomy and physiology as best as possible, we would appreciate if a change in the final exam content would be considered.
We are disappointed that this specific change in the course syllabus was announced past the university date to drop an undergraduate semester course without penalty. While we recognize the right of the course administrators to make such changes, we cannot help but feel that this was untimely, especially to students who contemplated dropping the course but reconsidered. These students assessed their capacity to handle the coursework in MCB 244 and achieve the grade they desired according to a final exam that was thought to be non-comprehensive. We feel the choice to administer a comprehensive final should have been made clear to us before the drop date. We worry the change in final exam content may result in an overall poor performance on the exam.

This statement is not made with ill intentions and is not meant to offend or challenge any course administrator. As students of Human Anatomy and Physiology, we have the utmost respect for the expertise and knowledge of the course coordinators and instructors. We believe the distinct teaching styles offered through alternating instructors is the best way to learn the dynamic study of the human body. We appreciate efforts made by the instructors to provide us with optional review sessions and study guides. We understand all decisions made are intended for the maximum retaining of course material. We graciously request that the decision for a cumulative final exam be reconsidered in the best interests of the students. We understand that the closing decision of the final exam’s content is at your discretion.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Students of MCB 244, Fall 2012

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